Social Media Trend Debunked a Common Misconception About Vaginal Health

July 1st 2016

Lucy Tiven

This week, an unusual hashtag began to circulate social media: the #PantyChallenge.

The trend seems to have originated from a woman posting a video on Facebook to brag about her underwear's lack of "crusty" discharge, Mic reports — though it's unclear if the woman shared the video in earnest or if she intended to troll viewers.

Regardless of its origin, sassy Twitter and Instagram users quickly took hold of the #PantyChallenge hashtag and used it to debunk misconceptions about vaginal health.

Despite what people on social media (and their panties) might lead you to believe, vaginal discharge is perfectly normal and healthy.

"A healthy vagina produces secretions to cleanse and regulate itself, similar to how saliva cleanses and regulates the environment of the mouth," the McKinley Health Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign explains on its website. "These vaginal secretions are normal vaginal discharge."

Normal discharge — a mucus produced in the cervix, can look cloudy white, clear, or yellowish. It may appear stringy or crusted on underwear.

Panty-shaming is just one of many ways women are stigmatized or shamed for totally normal bodily functions.

However, changes in the appearance and odor of vaginal discharge can signal the presence of certain health issues and STIs.

The Cleveland Clinic created a helpful chart that shows how to tell if your discharge is normal.

Abnormal Vaginal Discharge

[h/t Mic]